By D M Mitchell
The great head of the foremost horse crashed through the window showering them with glass. The Assassin whirled his great black leather coat around Mistress C throwing them both to the ground. Huge shards of glass lacerated the crowd of spectators. The boy/girl creature was severed nearly in two falling in a rain of blood and shredded intestines. The huge head snorted fire and several of the onlookers who were still standing erupted into screaming balls of flame.
The Assassin rolled over. Mistress C had only suffered minor cuts. Her eyes spat blue flame.
“Diomedes!” snarled the Assassin and his guns cracked like thunder. The horse’s eyes ruptured like grapes spraying caustic fluid. Where it fell, it hissed and sizzled, corroding metal, wood, leather and flesh alike.
“Ah but the pitiful work! Dismal the death that was your ending.” screamed the Assassin, emptying round after round into the steaming carrion beast above him. He smelled liquorice and aniseed as the creature’s bulk fell and skidded towards him. Scooping up Mistress C, he cleared the bar and they landed behind it on howling twitching bodies.
The dying horse screamed like brass; blood and nerve-endings spewing from the ruptured sockets. Its great metal flank scraped the length of the bar and it moved from its fixings.
“What the fuck have you brought down on us now?” howled Mistress C. He declined to answer, ducking under the remains of the bar and pulling out a pump-action, which he tossed to her. She caught it in a surprisingly demure way, then shouted.
“Chipped a fucking nail! How many more of these fucking things are there?”
The Assassin held up three fingers. The reverberations of the horse’s death screams died away and they could now hear the other animals pawing and stamping outside the building.
“What are our chances?” she said. He turned and grinned, shrugging his shoulders.
“Love it!” she laughed. “I fucking love it!” They stepped around the twitching mare, Mistress C wrinkling her nose as the dying creature loosed its bowels and emptied its bladder. Its great sharp teeth flashed brass, snapping on thin air. The Assassin gestured with his head to the back of the bar, where so many months ago the Sisters had caught up with him. The great gilt mirror was now in minute shards, crunching beneath his boot heels like early morning frost.
One of the mares poked its head through the aperture in an exploratory way, shying from the scent of its sister’s blood. Mistress Claudia fired off a volley but the beast had already picked up on the motion and darted back screaming horrendously. Its voice reverberated through the building, shaking what little glass remained intact in its frames.
“Don’t waste amo!” he whispered. Why was he fucking whispering, the fucking freak?
“What now, pretty boy?” she purred. He pointed to the rear exit.
“Then both, from out Hell-gates, into the waste wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark, flew diverse…”
“What the fuck?” she stared at him. He smiled again and, opening the door strolled casually out. She followed him, slowly, suspiciously. He simply carried on walking towards the wooden building opposite. At once, a huge cloud of dust erupted round the far side of the building as two of the mares rounded it, snorting fire; at least fifteen feet tall spiked and shod with flashing razored shoes.
Mistress C froze, unable to move forwards or backwards. The Assassin didn’t even turn to face them but carried on strolling towards the wooden shack. As he strolled he reached inside his long coat and something flashed in each hand; something lethal looking and long. He started to spin, hopping from one leg to the other as though doing a demented circle dance. The mares thundered down on him and he disappeared, engulfed in the dust cloud. Mistress C fired almost point-blank into a huge gelatinous eye that rocketed past her, and for one second almost thought that her shot had brought down the monster which slid to its knees in the dirt; its momentum carrying it several hundred yards before it crashed to a thrashing halt. Blood gutted from its neck, which was opened to the bone.
The other horse wheeled around leaving a blazing trail of sparks on the air like some magickal sigil or vever. Its eyes rolled in confusion. Its right shoulder was scored almost as far as its stomach with a deep wound. It stopped, pawing the ground into deep ugly furrows.
The Assassin’s shape began to emerge through the settling dust. He stood, head thrown back like a demented matador, two long blades held crossed above his head. Blood dripped from the knives onto his face. He lowered his head and stared at Mistress C and, smiling, licked the blood trickling into the corner of his mouth.
“That death be not one stroke as I supposed….” He said sepulchurally.
Mistress C turned to look at the horse. Confused by the smell of blood but also carnivorously aroused it threw back its head and howled. Then there was just a blur of rippling muscle as it charged again at the Assassin.
“Shoot the fucker!” he yelled.
She hesitated for an instant then the nasty shock of the recoil threw her off balance. She didn’t even realise she had fired. She saw, as if in slow-motion, the great skull split in two and the brains and blood gush out in a welter. She also saw, in the same hideous slow-motion, the Assassin vanish under the bulk of the dying animal. It rolled several times and totally demolished the shed.
“No…” she heard herself say. ”No no no no!”
He lay like a twisted broken umbrella. There was no way he could be alive. She started to move in his direction and found she had trouble walking, as if relearning the skill after some serious head trauma. Something rattled dryly in her throat. Then he moved, one hand clawing the air and he groaned.
“Jesus fuck me in the ass! That fucking hurt!”
She ran to his side. He rolled over onto his back and she saw that his front was soaked with blood; she couldn’t tell if it was his or the horse’s. With his left hand he held his stomach and with the other tried to sit up.
“Fucking hell! Claudia help me! In my pockets…”
“What? What’s in your pocket?”
“Fucking big tube of superglue! I need it to fix this!”
He looked down at his stomach. His intestines were beginning to slip out from a hideous rent that stretched from his lower ribcage almost to his groin.
“That looks nasty.” She said. “Is your dick ok?”
“It’s still attached if that’s what you mean.” He grimaced. “Please! The glue!”
Behind them came a low rumbling growl. Mistress C glanced up, ice in her stomach. The last mare was approaching them, slowly and purposefully.
(to be continued….)
D M Mitchell